West Texas Intermediate crude was poised for its first monthly decline since October. U.S. crude stockpiles rose less than forecast, and fuel demand increased in the world’s biggest oil consumer.
WTI for April delivery was down 16 cents at $92.60 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange as of 3:18 p.m. in Singapore. The volume of all futures traded was 41 percent below the 100-day average. The price rose 13 cents to $92.76 yesterday, the highest close since Feb. 25. The contract is down 4.8 percent this month, the first time since 2006 it fell in February.
Brent oil for April settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange slid 5 cents to $111.82 a barrel. The contract fell 84 cents yesterday. Volumes were about three times the 100-day average. The European benchmark grade was at a premium of $19.26 to WTI futures, compared with $19.11 yesterday.
The East-West gasoil swap widened, with Asian prices higher than European prices for the third day. Fuel oil’s viscosity spread rose.
• Fuel Oil • Singapore fuel oil’s discount to Dubai crude narrows 9 cents to $7.51/bbl at 12:25 P.m. Singapore time, according to data compiled by Bloomberg • March 180-fuel oil swap up $2.58 at $636.28/mt • March fuel oil swap trades $1.63/mt below April contract • Viscosity spread up 50 cents at $5.50/mt • March East-West fuel oil spread up 2 cents at $28.34/mt
• Middle Distillates • Singapore 0.05% sulfur gasoil’s premium to Dubai crude falls 21 cents to $19.99/bbl • March gasoil swap down 10 cents at $127.50/bbl • March gasoil swap trades 59 cents/bbl above April contract • March East-West gasoil spread at $9/mt • Jet fuel trades below gasoil for a fourth day. March regrade spread at 25 cents/bbl • March kerosene swap trades 79 cents/bbl above April contract
• Light Distillates • Singapore naphtha’s discount to London Brent crude unchanged at $4.80/bbl • March Japan naphtha swaps up $5.17 at $958.78/mt • March East-West naphtha spread up $1.80 at $8.98/mt
Base metals advanced, paring monthly losses, as better- than-expected U.S. economic data boosted the demand outlook from the second-largest user.
Zinc for delivery in three months gained as much as 0.9 percent to $2,097.50 a metric ton on the London Metal Exchange, before trading at $2,095 at 2:36 p.m. in Shanghai. The metal has lost 2.3 percent this month, the least among the six primary base metals traded on the bourse. Copper rose 0.7 percent to $7,923.50 a ton, while the LME Index declined 4.1 percent this month through yesterday, the most since October.
Gold rebounded on concern that automatic U.S. spending cuts that are due to take effect from tomorrow may hurt the recovery of the largest economy, trimming the precious metal’s longest run of monthly losses since 1997.
Spot gold rose as much as 0.4 percent to $1,603.11 an ounce, and traded at $1,601.72 at 3:24 p.m. in Singapore. The metal is still down 3.7 percent in February, poised for a fifth monthly decline, after investors cut exchange-traded products holdings by more than 100 metric tons on concern that a 12-year bull run is coming to an end.
Cash silver gained 0.4 percent to $29.12 an ounce, paring a monthly decline, and spot platinum climbed 0.2 percent to $1,602 an ounce, also cutting a loss in February. Palladium added 0.6 percent to $747.45 an ounce, heading for a fourth monthly advance in the best run since January 2011.
GRAINS, OILSEEDS, SOFT COMMODITIES
Wheat pared gains to head for a monthly loss as investors weighed whether a widening cash discount to corn will spur demand before a report that may show weekly U.S. export sales declined.
Wheat for May delivery was little changed at $7.13 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade at 3:45 p.m. in Singapore after climbing as much as 0.6 percent. Futures are down 8.5 percent this month, dropping to $6.9775 on Feb. 26, the lowest level since June 25.
Corn for May delivery was little changed at $6.95 a bushel, poised to drop 6.1 percent this month. Soybeans for May delivery fell 0.2 percent to $14.37 a bushel, set to decline 2.2 percent in February.
Rubber rebounded from the lowest level since December, paring the first monthly loss in four, after a group representing the three largest exporters said it may extend shipment restrictions to support prices.
The contract for delivery in August advanced 1.7 percent to 295.3 yen a kilogram ($3,191 a metric ton) before ending at 293 yen on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange. Futures lost 7.2 percent this month, the worst performance since June.
The contract for May delivery dropped as much as 1.4 percent to 2,377 ringgit ($769) a metric ton on the Malaysia Derivatives Exchange, the lowest price for the most-active contract since Jan. 18, and ended the morning session at 2,387 ringgit. The losing streak is the worst since Dec. 5, taking declines to 6.7 percent this month.
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